LeBron James gloats over Nike’s record high stock, but the joke’s on him

Despite heated backlash against Nike for its hypocritical decision to tap unemployed anthem-disrespecting, cop-hating NFL player Colin Kaepernick to represent its “Just Do It” campaign, the apparel retailer’s stock closed at an all-time high last week.

In response, Kaepernick’s supporters gloated. Included among the gloaters was NBA former Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star turned political commentator wannabe Lebron James:

Some suspect the dig was aimed at President Donald Trump, who earlier this month had joined other conservatives in predicting Nike’s eventual demise because of its Kaepernick campaign.

What remains unclear is whether James and those like him actually have any room to gloat over what only appears to be a successful ad campaign.

According to financial advisers with Stone Fox Capital, while Nike’s stock is performing well now, the company faces the risk of long-term brand damage because of its relationship with Kaepernick.

One piece of evidence the firm cites is a a report by the research firm Edison Trends. Though the report found that Nike’s online sales spiked by 31 percent from the Sunday of Labor Day weekend through Tuesday, it contained a hidden caveat not noticed by most media outlets.

“Hidden in the report was a small nugget from 4C Insights that the sentiment towards the brand dropped 38% in the initial couple of days following the ad,” Stone Fox Capital wrote for the investment news portal Seeking Alpha.

The firm also cites a recent Morning Consult poll that found that only a 33 percent minority of adults in the general public view anthem-disrespecting NFL players with Kaepernick favorably. And of those 33 percent, almost all are already Nike customers. There is therefore a high probability that the brand’s new “Just Do It” campaign offended a large number of non-Nike customers who had previously been potential customers but probably aren’t anymore.

According to Stone Fox Capital, these facts suggest Nike could experience long-term brand damage because of its association with Kaepernick.

Many on social media agree with the firm’s assessment:

The firm further argues that Nike would have been better off following the path it did with retired NBA star Michael Jordan’s “Air Jordan” brand:

“The real question is why Nike is moving away from what made the Jordan brand so successful. No matter whether Michael Jordan ever uttered the phrase ‘Republicans buy sneakers too’, him staying out of politics is a big part of why the Jordan brand remains highly successful today and focused on his athletic accomplishments and not distracted by political issues.”

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